• London

    I arrived in London by air from Dinard, Brittany on May 18, 1958. It looked clean, orderly and green from the air. Susanne, who had to return to Paris to catch her scheduled flight, met me the following day. We found comfortable accommodations at a reasonable price, just north of Pall Mall in central London.

  • La Maison de Charette de la Contrie

    I have written extensively about the distinguished family Charette de la Contrie, revered in France not for their titles but for their heroic leadership in combat against overwhelming odds.

  • After visiting my father’s grave on May 11, 1958, my wife and I returned to Paris to meet Susanne’s good friend, whom she had not seen since leaving France many years before.

    Guillemette Dunoyer de Segonzac had attended a private girl’s school in Paris with my French-born wife, then Susanne de Charette.

  • Berlin and Mayor Brandt

    From Bonn, the de facto capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, we were flown into West Berlin, then an Allied portion of a divided city. West Berlin was separated by 100 miles from the eastern border of West Germany and only accessible by land by narrow rail and highway corridors. It consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors established in 1945. It was, however, a de facto part of West Germany. At the same time, East Berlin, occupied and administered by the Soviet Union, was the de facto capital of East Germany.

  • All Saints Catholic

    Mass is at 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. All are welcome to attend. Located at 410 Main St., Taylorsville.


    Allen Chapel United Methodist

    Services are at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Located on KY 55 in Finchville. The Rev. Robert Raglin is the pastor.


    Bagdad Baptist

  • Canadian National

    Defense College (CNDC)

    In July, 1957, following my tour of duty as Headquarters Commandant of the Far East Command in Tokyo, I was ordered to attend the Canadian National Defence College at Fort Frontenac in Kingston, Ontario.

  • During this tour of duty in Japan, having a penchant for climbing mountains, particularly those requiring only stamina, I climbed Mt. Fuji (called Fuji-san), elevation 12,389 feet, following a switchback trail that had been littered by hundreds of earlier climbers. I am sure this trail has subsequently been cleared by the meticulous Japanese.

    Chiba with the children, Sept. 1956

  • Author’s Notes: I temporarily suspended the current series in order to mark Veterans Day by depicting the life of Shelbyville hero, Colonel Ben Bollard. I now resume the series with “30 Years in the Marines,” Part 14. This column and the next are practically identical with those I published in The Sentinel-News in June 2008.

    Susanne Van Stockum’s

    innate curiosity

  • On Christmas, 1970, Ben entered a large cell with 45 cellmates. He thought he had “died and gone to heaven!” They didn’t sleep for many hours as they met their new cellmates and swapped stories.

    Hazards of religious services

  • On the eve of Veterans Day it seems entirely fitting to publish a summary of my columns about Col. Ben Pollard that originally appeared in August 2008. Col. Pollard died in San Diego on Veteran’s Day 2016.

    While I had heard of the late Ben Pollard and of his experiences as a prisoner of war in Hanoi during the Vietnam War, it was at an open house at the Shelby County Public Library nearly twenty years ago where I first made his acquaintance. Thus commenced a friendship, which was continued through visits and many e-mail exchanges.

    Early life

  • In the summer of 1952, upon completion of my duty as Senior Marine Officer on the flagship of Rear Admiral Brittain, I had expectations of returning to infantry duty.

    However, fate intervened.

    The Commander of the Marine Barracks at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois, about 40 miles north of Chicago, had been suddenly relieved of his command.

    Nearing the end of my sea duty and considered a suitable replacement available immediately, I was ordered to replace him

  • End of Bachelorhood

    On Flag Day, June 14, 1949, lovely Susanne de Charette and I were married. I adopted her little daughter, Michele Solange Marshall, not yet three. Susanne’s first husband, Charles (Chunky) Marshall, was the son of Judge C. C. Marshall, the longest serving of all Shelby County, Kentucky Circuit Court Judges (1907-1943), a total of 36 years.

  • On April 1, 1945, while flying home, having competed a combat tour in the Pacific of nearly 26 months, I heard on the plane’s radio news of the assault on Okinawa that day.

    This was the beginning of another struggle with a skilled and determined enemy, who augmented his defenses this time with kamikaze pilots who deliberately crashed their bomb-laden planes on naval ships.

    On land and sea a terrible toll was exacted, foretelling a bloody struggle for the home islands of Japan, planned for later that year.

    With my parents

  • At this point in my current series, having completed writing about combat experiences during WW II, it seems timely to write about “Heroes and Heroism.”

    I have thought a great deal about real heroes and their acts of heroism. Certainly my front-line machine gunners on Guam who held their ground and died, while others fell back and survived, were heroes, unrecognized and unsung

  • Captain C. C. “Chipping Charlie” Anderson

    In February 1945, as a 28-year-old lieutenant colonel, commanding an infantry battalion, the 1ST Battalion of the 3RD Marines, I embarked with my troops aboard USS Frederick Funston for the Iwo Jima invasion. My battalion, reinforced by attached units, including an engineering platoon, a pioneer platoon, a medical collecting section, was designated BLT 1-3 (Battalion Landing Team 1 of the 3rd Marine Regiment.)

  • In defeating the all-out Japanese attack of July 25-26, our Marines had broken the enemy’s back.  The day following, the battalion commander moved his command post from the foot of the cliff to the top. Ordinarily it would have been a poor location, for enemy fire directed at our frontlines would also pin down those in the command post and hinder their exercise of command. However, in this case, organized resistance at the front had ceased.

    Liberating ‘Scotch’ whisky

  • Fonte Ridge

    On July 22, the day following our landing, the 1st Battalion, of which I was Executive Officer (second-in command), was taken out of reserve and placed on the front line on Fonte Ridge, between the other two battalions of the 21st Marines.


    Author’s Note: In 2007, when I wrote my first column for The Shelbyville, Kentucky Sentinel-News, I thought I would run out of years before I ran out of columns. However, after passing Milestone 101 last week, I don’t seem to be running out of either, for this is my 209th column.

    Combat loaded aboard a Naval transport


    Planning and Training on Guadalcanal

    In January 1944, having returned from a successful Bougainville campaign, we began intense training for our next campaign, planned initially as an invasion of Kavieng, New Ireland, in Papua, New Guinea, 300 miles north of Bougainville.

    However, in February, the outer screen of Japanese island defenses had been penetrated by the seizure of bases in the Marshall Islands, including Kwajalein and Eniwetok. In March and April, landings in the Admiralty Islands and Hollandia established additional shore bases.

  • The First Battalion continued its westward advance beyond the front lines to reach its objective where a stream was in front and the sea on the left flank. It then placed into effect it’s long-practiced SOP (Standing Operating Procedure) for jungle perimeter defense. Each of the three rifle companies, supported by one of my machine gun platoons to form the framework of the defense, occupied a third of the circle. I toured the front lines, tying in the fire plans of all automatic weapons so that continuous bands of grazing fire could be interlocked about the perimeter.